An Uncommon Story


An Uncommon Story (Russian: Необыкнове́нная исто́рия, romanized: Neobyknovennaya istoriya) is an autobiographical literary memoir by Ivan Goncharov, written in 1875–1876 (with an 1878 addendum) and first published in 1924. Parts of it were later included into The Complete Goncharov (1978–1980, Vol VII). According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Biography, An Uncommon Story "…confirmed the psychopathic side of [its author's] personality; it is an account of imagined plots against him and imagined attempts by others to plagiarize his work." Many researchers disagreed, finding there was much more veracity to Goncharov's claims than had previously been reported.An Uncommon Story had one single agenda: to prove that Ivan Turgenev has not only borrowed major ideas, character types, and conflicts from Goncharov's The Precipice to use in his Home of the Gentry, but also (in the author's words) "infused the best European literature with them." An Uncommon Story caused much debate; that it was published at all caused some controversy, for according to its author's special request, these memoirs were to be issued only in case plagiarism accusations were brought against him after his death. Since no such allegations have ever been made, Goncharov's book was formally published contrary to his will. In this same note, however, the author mentioned that he wished for future "historians of Russian literature" to take hold of it. It was the latter who deemed the publication advisable since (according to scholar N. F. Budanova) "it shed an important light upon Goncharov and Turgenev's relations," and also provided researchers with "valuable material for making a comparative analysis of both classic novels which, indeed, had striking similarities."
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original title: Необыкновенная история
date of publication: 1924
genre: memoir

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